RA Cup hits Sydney for round two of 13th season
Rnd#2 – 2021 RA Cup Australia
Sydney Motorsport Park, NSW (30 April – 02 May, 2021)
The 13th season of the popular one-make RA CUP Australia will return this weekend to it’s emotional home – Sydney Motorsport Park – where a competitive field of SR3s will do battle for more valuable championship points after an entertaining season-opener at Mount Panorama just four weeks ago, a round where three-time champion Peter Paddon claimed his ninth Bathurst win.
A lot can happen in four weeks, and that may well have an impact on the 2021 championship with a couple of notable changes..
Sadly Brad Shiels will sit this round out with his TCR commitments across the weekend, keeping him from adding to his handy points advantage, whilst for the man with whom he shares the points lead – former champion Peter Paddon – his title aspirations are buoyed by the arrival of an all-new Radical SR3XX, the latest offering from the British manufacturer, Paddon hoping it will provide the tonic to go after his fourth RA CUP title.
For the GWR Australia team, they will have two of the new SR3s running this weekend, with two-time NSW SuperSports champion Stephen Champion also upgrading his existing machine in an effort to close the gap to the leaders, team-boss Garth Walden keen to spend some more time with the cars in an effort to get his drivers up to speed as quickly as possible.
“The Radical formula is a great platform, because it essentially hasn’t changed in 15 years,” he explained. “The new XX is just an upgrade on the RSX which is now a couple of years old, with some electronic and ergonomic updates, but it’s effectively the same car, just new.”
A student of the sport with a great passion for data, Paddon admitted that one of the great attractions of the new model was the increased data capabilities of the car, which includes inbuilt tyre pressure and tyre temperature sensors..
“There’s live readings on the dash that give you the information as you’re circulating which is really cool, so whilst I enjoyed the feeling of the new car from behind the wheel – which in itself has a different feel because that too has been upgraded – I got a huge kick out of going through the increased load of data available from each run, something which for me at least, was the big attraction with the upgrade.”
For Paddon the new XX will be his second ‘new’ car in three years having taken delivery of an RSX to start the 2019 season, although like Champion, it will be the first time he’s taken delivery of a brand new car direct from the factory. Both however will arrive at the circuit having conducted just a single test day in the car, so they will have to dial themselves in as quickly as possible to avoid reigning champion Chris Perini from extending his winning streak in Sydney.
That winning streak extends to three outright wins from the last four races at Sydney Motorsport Park, a run that extends back to the third round of 2019, however if you go back another 12 months, Perini’s record at the venue includes four wins from nine starts, so you could argue that he starts favourite this weekend, especially off back-to-back wins at the circuit during the only event held in 2020.
Perini comes into the round third in points having played second fiddle to the Paddon/Shiels show at Bathurst, but whilst frustrated by his rival’s pace on the mountain, he knows that the championship requires focus on the long game, however with just five rounds tabled for this year, he needs to make this weekend count.
Behind the GWR trio Kosta Pohurokov will serve as the Tilton Racing team’s sole representative, but as an experienced hand around the Sydney circuit, he too will be in contention for a podium, although with the recent pace of Volante Rosso pairing Peter Clare and Greg Kenny, the battle for the final step of the podium is destined to provide its own entertainment.
Typical of the RA CUP competition though, the battles continue all the way down the field with a strong midfield competition expected this weekend, with drivers like Zig Fuhrmeister, Max Medland, Bill Medland, Susie Esselmont and CUP rookie Craig McLatchey looking to make an impression across the weekend, Bill Medland campaigning the 2020 RA Motorsport RSX for the first time, handing nephew Max Medland his incumbent ride for the event.
Action starts on Friday with two 30-minute practice sessions ahead of the first CUP session under lights at SMP, with qualifying set for 6:20pm. Saturday’s race will be held in the twilight from 4:55pm, with Sunday’s second race scheduled for 3:10pm.
2021 RA CUP Australia
Rnd#2, Sydney Motorsport Park, NSW
30 April – 2 May, 2021
1. Chris Perini (Bing Radical SR3RSX)
4. Warwick Morris (Underdog Racing Radical SR3RSX)
9. Max Medland (RA Motorsports Radical SR3RS)
22. Kostinken Pohorukov (Tilton Racing Radical SR3RSX)
27. Zig Fuhrmeister (Pacific Components Radical SR3RS)
31. Peter Paddon (First Focus Radical SR3XX)
34. Stephen Champion (GWR/Champion’s Business Growth Adv. Radical SR3XX)
47. Peter Clare (Shared Runway/Volante Rosso Radical SR3RS)
52. Bill Medland (RA Motorsports Radical SR3RSX)
53. Susan Esselmont (RaceIntel Radical SR3RS)
56. Greg Kenny (Bluegate Radical SR3RSX)
62. Craig McLatchey (Volante Rosso SR3RS)
Friday, 30 April
09:55am – Practice#1 (30-minutes)
01:10pm – Practice#2 (30-minutes)
06:20pm – Qualifying (20-minutes)
Saturday, 1 May
06:05pm – Race#1 (50-minutes)
Sunday, 2 May
03:10pm – Race#2 (45-minutes)
Radical Australia Cup history at Sydney Motorsport Park:
Qual#1; 1. Chris Perini 1:30.3398, 2. Peter Paddon 1:30.8431, 3. Clare/Hunt 1:31.1720
Qual#2; 1. Chris Perini 1:30.3886, 2. Peter Paddon 1:31.0411, 3. Stephen Champion 1:31.3679
Race#1 (32-laps): 1. Chris Perini, 2. Peter Paddon, 3. Stephen Champion
Race#2 (29-laps): 1. Chris Perini, 2. Peter Paddon, 3. Kosta Pohorukov
Rnd#3 – 2019
Qual#1; 1. Chris Perini 1:29.2288, 2. Mitch Neilson 1:29.8626, 3. Peter Clare 1:30.3864
Qual#2; 1. Chris Perini 1:29.3614, 2. Mitch Neilson 1:29.9056, 3. Stephen Champion 1:30.4410
Race#1 (30-laps): 1. Chris Perini, 2. Kosta Pohorukov, 3. Stephen Champion
Race#2 (27-laps): 1. Phil Anseline/Oliver Smith, 2. Peter Paddon, 3. Mitch/Brad Neilson
Rnd#2 – 2019
Qualifying#1; 1. Peter Paddon 1:29.4347, 2. Chris Perini 1:29.6107, 3. Mitch Neilson 1:30.0304
Qualifying#2; 1. Peter Paddon 1:29.4895, 2. Chris Perini 1:29.7376, 3. Mitch Neilson 1:30.2843
Race#1 (32-laps): 1. Peter Paddon, 2. Chris Perini, 3. Simon Haggarty
Race#2 (15-laps): 1. Mitch Neilson, 2. Peter Paddon, 3. Simon Haggarty
Race#3 (32-laps): 1. Peter Paddon, 2. Chris Perini, 3. Brad/Mitch Neilson
Qualifying#1; 1. Chris Perini 1:29.6077, 2. Paddon 1:29.9332, 3. Oliver Smith 1:30.1019
Qualifying#2; 1. Chris Perini 1:29.6115, 2. Paddon 1:30.1107, 3. Neilson 1:30.4265
Race#1 (32-laps): 1. Chris Perini, 2. Peter Paddon, 3. Mitch/Brad Neilson
Race#2 (29-laps): 1. Peter Paddon, 2. John Beck, 3. Peter Clare
Qualifying; 1. Shaw 1:28.7357, 2. Smith 1:28.9901, 3. Burke 1:29.0854
Race#1 (32-laps): 1. Peter Paddon, 2. Michael Shaw, 3. Oliver Smith
Race#2 (30-laps): 1. Peter Paddon, 2. Chris Medland, 3. Sue Hughes
Qualifying; 1. Winslow 1:28.4401, 2. Paddon 1:28.6871, 3. Ross 1:29.2979
Race#1 (31-laps): 1. Peter Paddon, 2. David Crampton 3. Simon Haggarty
Race#2 (28-laps): 1. O. Smith/G. Smith, 2. Rowan Ross, 3. Simon Haggarty
Sydney Motorsport Park
Location: Eastern Creek, Sydney, NSW
Circuit length: 3.93-kilometres
Corners: 11 (anti-clockwise)
Circuit first opened: 1990
Radical SR3 lap record: 1:28.2263 (James Winslow, Race#1, 2 July, 2016) – RACE
1:28.4401 (James Winslow, 1 July, 2016) – QUALIFYING
SR3 CUP Championship Points (after one round of five)
1. Brad Shiels (78-points), 2. Peter Paddon (76), 3. Chris Perini (60), 4. Greg Kenny (49), 5. Peter Clare (48), 6. Zig Fuhrmeister (42), 7. Kostinken Pohorukov (41), 8. Bill Medland (32), 8. Warwick Morris (32), 10. Jim Hernandez (22), 11. Chris Medland (20), 12. Phil Anseline (18), 13. Jon Grant (12), 14. Stephen Champion (0)
‘Invitational’ Championship Points (after one round of five)
1. Neale Muston (84-points), 2. Sebastian Lip (70)
2021 RA CUP Australia
Rnd#1 – 02-04 April – Mount Panorama, Bathurst, New South Wales
Rnd#2 – 01-02 May – Sydney Motorsport Park, New South Wales
Rnd#3 – 03-05 September – Sydney Motorsport Park, New South Wales
Rnd#4 – 17-19 September – Sandown, Melbourne, Victoria
Rnd#5 – 15-17 October – The Bend Motorsport Park, South Australia